A pioneering technology helped to make Sunnyside a neighborhood: the first electrically powered streetcar in San Francisco began running from downtown out to the new neighborhood in 1892, making it possible for people to live here. The Sunnyside Powerhouse, located at Monterey Blvd and Circular Avenue, was at the center of the railway line and provided the power. Here is a great collection of photos from SFMTA: http://sfmta.photoshelter.com/gallery/Sunnyside-Powerhouse/G0000bK1E7CPP58c/C0000gA7yYOiLzG0

Streetcar on San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway. From Street Railway Journal, July 1892.

Streetcar on San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway. From Street Railway Journal, July 1892.

Capitalist Behrend Joost hired a sharp engineer from the Midwest named John Wesley Hartzell, who designed the system. Unfortunately, Joost was a incompetent business manager, a scrappy underdog constantly being sued by everyone from his creditors to his employees to the people injured by his poorly run streetcars. Joost lost the railway, but it eventually became part of SF’s municipally run public transport system by the early 1900s.

Meanwhile, Here is a short history of the railway by Walter Rice and Emiliano Echeverria. It contains a small but glaring error: there was never a Joost brother named “Isaac.”  This error is repeated in Wikipedia’s page about the railway, mostly taken from this article, and which then makes the additional error of omitting Behrend Joost’s name altogether. Behrend Joost was the only Joost to take any active role in the Sunnyside real estate speculation project and the electric railway company.

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